A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.
Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.
The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.
Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.
Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss? (goodreads.com)
An overlong blurb for what is actually a succinct, riveting story by a great author. Gardiner delivers a thrilling, fast-paced story about a serial killer with a rather explosive ending in UNSUB.
I’ve only read one other book by Gardiner, THRILLER, and I loved it. She just has this poignant way of writing that expresses so much with so few words with no need for flair. The story itself and the development of her characters sucks you in right away and you’re rocketing from one development to another as everything unfolds. You can’t help but try and guess who the UNSUB actually is as you try to put the clues together. It’s non-stop. You get to the end of the book and your head’s spinning a little because so much stuff happened and the ending is AMAZING and you’re like shouldn’t there be more? Oh there’s always a sequel.
Caitlin’s development throughout the book was fantastic. I really like how Gardiner paralleled her father there. Even though we don’t actually see her father go through his portion of the story (he was the detective when the killer started killing twenty years prior), you get enough pieces of it and you see her start to get consumed by it despite her insistence that the very thing she’s fighting against isn’t happening (although it kind of it).
She’s also a character, a woman, surrounded by people who love her. Her boyfriend and his daughter, and she’s even good friends with her boyfriend’s ex-wife. It’s almost a sickly sweet kind of set-up that’s almost too perfect, but it’s so antithetical to female relationships in a lot of books that I gladly welcomed it. Granted there was some tension between her and a more senior woman in an involved force and that was kind of annoying, but at least it was pitched in a way that it was more of a personality thing with the other woman because she was like that with everyone than a girl on girl dislike because vaginas are immediately adversarial. Caitlin had her moments too with the various other men she was working with but the head-butting with the woman just appeared more in-your-face, I guess, due to my own sensitivities to it.
The story itself was compelling as hell, especially when Caitlin started putting all the puzzle pieces together and she started figuring out just what the killer was modeling his kills after. Super freaky and terrifying. Have I mentioned the ending yet? Holy crap, someone get me the sequel immediately! I need it. I NEED to know what happens. I’m addicted at this point.
There really isn’t much more I can say without spoiling things so I’ll end it here. If you’re a thriller fan you won’t want to miss UNSUB. You won’t be able to put it down once you pick it up. Who needs sleep anyway?
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.